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Many families experience divorce. The key is not to let divorce devastate your family. It is also important to make sure that you are treated fairly during the divorce process and that agreements you enter into are fair and equitable. Having an experienced family law attorney to guide you through this process can make all the difference.

Melissa Pavlack’s and Kathryn Von Badins’ practice is devoted exclusively to representing clients on family law matters. For most families, divorce is more than just the legal dissolution of a marriage. For most families, especially those with young children, issues of child and spousal support, custody and visitation, and division of marital assets and debts must be resolved.
We work closely with our clients to design solutions to these difficult and emotional issues.

We have found that by taking the time to get to know our clients and understand their desires, we are better able to resolve most family disputes. In order to do this, we provide every client with the personal attention necessary to arrive at a truly beneficial result.

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In Pennsylvania, custody is determined based on what is in the best interest of the child. Of course, many divorcing parents have different ideas of what arrangements would be in the child's best interest.  Any number of custody arrangements may be made including primary, partial and shared (or joint) custody and/or visitation rights.

Child custody cases can be resolved in one of two ways. The first option is to resolve the dispute amicably by reaching an agreement with the other parent. Doing so may involve mediation. In reaching an amicable resolution, you may not get everything you want, but you will have more control over the resolution of your case.

Sometimes, an amicable resolution is simply not possible. In these cases, the matter has to be resolved through litigation in the courtroom. If your custody case needs to go to trial, we will work hard to ensure that the Court is informed of all the relevant facts in order to determine the best interests of your child.

Child custody disputes do not always end when a divorce is finished. Sometimes, situations change and modification of the custody arrangement is required. Oftentimes, parents re-marry and must relocate out of the county or state. If you find yourself in this situation, we will explore all aspects of custody relocation law to assist you with your goals.


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In Pennsylvania, child support is determined in most cases by the Pennsylvania Support Guidelines. The primary focus of the guidelines is the net incomes of both parties. In most cases, very little discretion is involved, as the Guideline amount is presumed to be the correct level of support.

However, situations do arise that make it important for an experienced attorney to oversee the child support determination. In cases involving self-employed individuals, hidden incomes, disputed incomes and other similar scenarios, child support can become very complex.

The guidelines are designed to calculate child support up to a certain income level. If your income level goes above the Guidelines amount, other factors are used to determine child support payments. These factors are centered on the needs of the child and the parties, as well as the income of the parties.

After a divorce, situations may arise that require changes to the child support agreement. We continue to represent our clients as their families and their needs change and modification of agreements and orders becomes necessary.


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We can assist you in the divorce process with the various types of spousal maintenance including:

  • Alimony pendente lite (APL): This is the temporary alimony that is available only if a divorce proceeding is pending.
  • Spousal support: This is the financial support that can be provided to a spouse if there is a separation whether or not a divorce is pending.
  • Alimony: Alimony is actually the financial support for a spouse that commences once the divorce is finalized.

During and after your divorce, you may have questions about the various forms of support and alimony. As you move forward, we will argue for your positions on spousal support and alimony based on the factors involved in your case.

Even after a divorce is finalized, alimony may be modifiable. We continue to represent our clients as future modifications may occur. 


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Equitable distribution does not necessarily mean that property is divided equally. To determine how assets are divided, the court looks at a variety of factors. We work to see that the factors are presented in the light that is most favorable to our clients.

Valuation of assets is an important step in the equitable distribution process. To see that all property is valued properly, we will often enlist financial experts including real estate appraisers, pension evaluators and other professionals to see that all marital assets are appropriately valued.
In Pennsylvania, claims for alimony are determined at the same time as the equitable distribution of the marital estate. The two claims may be closely related and we will work with you to see that your long term financial interests are considered in the final distribution.


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Grandparents may exercise their rights to custody of their grandchildren in the following limited situations, so long as a grandparent's contact with their grandchild is in that child's best interest and does not interfere with the parent-child relationship:

  • The parents have been separate or divorced for at least six months. In this situation, the grandparents all too often find themselves without any contact with their grandchild. You may have the right to pursue an action to see that you are able to remain a part of your grandchild's life.
  • One parent is deceased. In these cases, the remaining parent often neglects the rights of the deceased party’s parents.
  • The child has resided with grandparents for a year or more. In certain situations, a child resides with his or her grandparents for an extended period of time. Later, a parent re-enters the picture and removes the child from the grandparent's home, neglecting the rights of the grandparents who have provided care.


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A Protection from Abuse Order is a civil order that provides protection from harm by family or household members, sexual or intimate partners or persons who share biological parenthood.

A Protection from Abuse Order can do more than protect you and you children.  It may:

  • Order the abuser not to abuse, harass, or stalk you, your minor children or other designated persons;
  • Grant you exclusive possession of the residence, whether or not you own or lease your home separately or together;
  • Award temporary custody or temporary visitation rights of your minor children;
  • Prohibit the abuser from having any contact with you or your minor children, including staying away from your or your child’s place of employment, business or school;
  • Order the abuser to turn in any of his firearms, other weapons or ammunitions to the sheriff or police, if he used them or threatened to use them during the abuse;
  • Grant any other appropriate relief you request.

The penalties for violating a Pennsylvania Protection from Abuse Order can be severe. Violations are brought to court as indirect criminal contempt (ICC) cases, and violators can be punished by fines and up to six months in jail. Additionally, PFA orders can have a significant impact on one’s ability to own and carry weapons under state and federal firearms statutes, and may impact the accused abuser's ability to obtain or maintain employment. These are serious matters that demand serious attention.
We have helped many people in Protection from Abuse cases. Whether you are a victim of abuse, or whether you are facing charges of abuse, we can protect your rights, and guide you through this painful and emotionally-charged process.

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1415 Blakeslee Blvd. Drive East • Lehighton, PA 18235 • 570.386.3888

1908 Allen Street • Allentown, PA 18104 • 610.433.9370



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